AskDefine | Define conventicle

Dictionary Definition



1 a secret unauthorized meeting for religious worship
2 a building for religious assembly (especially Nonconformists, e.g., Quakers) [syn: meetinghouse]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. a secret, unauthorized or illegal religious meeting
  2. the place where such a meeting is held
  3. a Quaker meetinghouse

Extensive Definition

right|thumb|200px|A Covenanters Conventicle. A conventicle is a small, unofficial and unofficiated meeting of laypeople, to discuss religious issues in a non-threatening, intimate manner. Philipp Jakob Spener called for such associations in his Pia Desideria, and they were the foundation of the German Evangelical Lutheran Pietist movement. Due to concern over possibly mixed-gender meetings, sexual impropriety, and subversive sectarianism conventicles were condemned first by mainstream Lutheranism and then by the Pietists within decades of their inception.


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